Cellist Rachel Czech has a healthy appetite for contemporary classical music and broadening perspectives about what it means to be a classical musician. While studying with Darry Dolezal at the University of Missouri, she was encouraged to explore contemporary classical music to expand her range of musical expression. Through this exploration, Rachel cultivated a passion for the current classical music climate and for sharing her latest findings with others.
As a Middle School Orchestra Director in Northwest Arkansas, Rachel is spreading her joy for classical and contemporary music to the next generation of string musicians. Occasionally assisted by her husband, composer Justin Pounds, she regularly challenges her students to discover, experience, and create contemporary music. Exploring the more creative aspects of music, such as composition and improvisation—where students directly apply their knowledge of the subject—is important in our 21st-century, content-driven world. While working towards a Music Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate, Rachel examined the shift in classical music toward modern technology, and she reflects that change by incorporating new technology into her teaching.
While earning her Master of Music in Cello Performance, Rachel performed extensively with the New Music Ensemble, a Graduate level 20th- and 21st-century contemporary performance ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Stefan Freund. As a member of the New Music Ensemble, Rachel had many opportunities to promote and perform new music from University of Missouri faculty and composition students and to work with some of the world's leading composers and interpreters of new music, such as Nico Muhly, Chen Yi, Oscar Bettison, Paul Steinbeck, Andrew Norman, and John Orfe from Alarm Will Sound. Rachel also studied at the Brevard Music Center where she worked and performed alongside prominent musicians such as Susannah Chapman, Rune Bergmann, Keith Lockhart, JoAnn Falletta, David Dzubay, Jonathan Spitz, Benjamin Karp, Cicely Parnas, The Shanghai String Quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and Steep Canyon Rangers.
In addition to public school teaching, Rachel travels as a freelance cellist to collaborate with composers and musicians, especially throughout Arkansas and Missouri. Her growing cello studio is located in Northwest Arkansas.